It was a fast but soggy race for the under 17 girls to kick off the second day of racing at the 2011 RaboDirect Club Road National Championships in Wanganui today. Counties Manukau’s Devon Hiley broke free of the bunch of the second lap to establish a 20 second gap. She was able to hold this for nearly a lap before being caught.
Pegasus riders were aggressive, attacking on lap three but the peloton refused to surrender any ground. The rain took its toll on the final descent with two crashes.
Hiley attacked again on the last hill, but four riders tailed her, forcing a sprint finish. Hiley, who had ridden a skilled race took a well deserved win ahead of Pegasus’ Holly Edmondston and Hamilton’s Maxyna Cottam.
Punctures and crashed plagued the under 17 boy’s race. After an uneventful first lap, lap two saw six punctures within a kilometre and a handful of riders go down in nasty crashes on the wet roads. The real action happened on the third and final lap. A few initial attacks were quickly reeled in. Luke Weblitz (Pegasus) broke free just before the climb and managed to secure a 45 second lead. Josh Hunter (Counties Manukau) made an effort to bridge across to Weblitz. He spent a few minutes in no-mans land until Mark Findlay (Bike Manawatu) joined him and together the pair caught Weblitz. It was a short stint out the front for the trio before a much diminished peloton caught them with two kilometres to go.
It was a bunch sprint for the titles with Findlay, brother of 2010 Under 23 Road Race champion Tom Findlay, triumphing. Regan Gough (Cycling Central Hawke’s Bay) took silver.
The oldest riders at these championships proved that they still have what it takes. Five 75 plus year olds braved the rain in a superb display of racing. Proving you are only as old as you feel, the men made each of the 44 kilometres count. Gary Ulmer, father of Olympic Gold Medallist Sarah Ulmer, broke free on the hill on the third climb and managed to stay away for the next lap to cross the line 59 seconds ahead of Tauranga’s Cyril Hibberd with Daniel McCarthy (Counties Manakau) in third.
Tomorrow is a big day of racing including the under 19's, senior women and masters one road races.